Monday, November 14, 2011

Don't Look Away

I know a girl
When she smiles
The rain comes pouring down

A longer day
I may stay my ground
Be drenched from head to toe

A younger age
I may have a dream
That tells me not to go

A smaller town
I may close my eyes
And see her once again

I know a girl
When she smiles
The rain comes pouring down

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

For Old Times' Sake

I was eight when I first heard Boney M's Holiday songs. I've heard each of them a thousand times now, but one of them that instantly stuck with me was Auld Lang Syne. More so because I had no idea what it meant. No one at home seemed to be able to tell me. And since my only link to the outside world was Doordarshan and Akashvani, I had to learn it like one of those romantic spanish phrases, like Formas de Amor, like Besame Mucho, ones you never understood but just sounded cool when put in song.

And then I grew up and finally got to know what the words meant. It didn't really make much sense though. Old times' sake. "Should old acquaintance be forgot, for auld lang syne"? Shouldn't you rather be remembering your old buddies, for old times' sake? Someone else told me it just meant "a long long time ago". Mm, that made sense, I thought. And so that's what it meant for a long, long time.

After school you grow up a whole different way. The song remained forgotten for years. Life's what happens to you when you grow up, I've heard. Heck, no kidding. When I heard it again, almost twenty years after I first learnt to say the phrase, it wasn't so "senseless" anymore.

For the sake of some of the best times you've had, you have to let go of the past.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Are You Watching Closely?

"We'll see you again, inshallah"

"I'm sure we will" I replied as I turned my T-card around for the last time. In a time not too long ago I might have got a little moist around the eyes. But Saudi and its experiences have hardened me somewhat. I've closed some doors around me which I will not open again. I've been warned the floodgates come unexpectedly and they're tough to stop once they come. But that's not today.

D and I talked on the drive back home. About nothing in particular. The new speed limits on the roads, the kababs at the new place downtown. "Five years have gone by real quick man." I told him as I parked the car and gave him the keys. "It's been five years?" His mouth opened like one of those colon-O smileys. "It hardly feels like two, chief."

"It feels like yesterday." I smiled as we hugged goodbye.

I handed over my passport to the customs officer. He looked at the picture on it, looked up at me. Turned to a page cluttered with older exit stamps and made his mark on one corner. "Ma salaama, habibi" he handed me back my passport and boarding pass. Go in peace, my friend.

It's not a place I've grown to love. It's probably not even a place I would yearn to come back to. But here, I have gained a little, lost a little, learnt a lot. Made some new friends, been forgotten by a few old buddies. Survived the red-brown sands and 52 degC. Eaten the most fattening meals of my life. Learnt to call a friend a brother. Seen some relationships last a lifetime, others not so much. The ride may leave you dizzy, it may leave you ecstatic. It may scare you to death, it may make you want to do something crazier. But the ride is the thing. As the brown city got smaller and smaller, it's neatly arranged streetlights fading to a mesh of criss-cross lines, a little part of me, I leave behind.